The library is one of the most important parts of an elementary classroom. There are so many different ways to organize and set up this space in your classroom.
Your decision on how to organize comes down to your personal preference, grade level, and space. You want to make it easy for your students to use and access it, while also having it be easy for you to manage. Check out the 10 tips below that will help you with setting up and organizing your classroom library!
10 Tips for How to Set Up Your Classroom Library
- From my experience, I’ve found that having an elaborate check-out system is not necessary. A few books may be lost or damaged over the course of the year, but the time necessary to manage a check-out system doesn’t always prevent this from happening. Instead, establish expectations and procedures for respecting the books and using the library. Check out this blog post to learn more about library checkout systems.
- I’ve recently broken my library up and spread it around the classroom. I really like this as it enables more children to browse comfortably. I have a section for my leveled picture books, a section for my chapter books (organized by series, genre and favorite authors), and a non-fiction section. I also have a section for the text books and reference books (i.e. dictionaries and thesaurus). I love that my kids are “surrounded by literature.”
- Plan lessons to teacher your students how to take out and return books.
- Find a way to make your books face forward. Students are not likely to select them if the spines are showing. The covers are much more enticing.
- Consider rotating your books or creating a themed section to increase interest and keep things fresh.
- Decide how you want your books to be sorted and labeled and plan how adding books in the future will effect that. If you want to sort them by genre, grab these FREE labels!
- Using uniform baskets/bins creates an organized and cohesive look.
- Create a “return bin” for students to put books into. Have a parent volunteer or responsible student librarian return them from there to their actual basket.
- Set rules and guidelines for using the library. In my classroom, the students are each assigned a day to access the classroom library and pick books for their bag. They may also request a conference with me to discuss what they’ve read and can pick books afterwards.
- Add the words, “The classroom library is CLOSED when I am absent to your substitute teacher plans.” Just trust me on this one!